Archives for March 2012

Damn You, Pinterest!

Okay, okay…so I got all high and mighty about Pinterest last week. I couldn’t help myself. I was stuck in that weird time-sucking vortex. I was beginning to believe that, by myself, I could build a pole barn out of recycled wood pallets. I’d construct it using a hot glue gun and organic paint which I’d mix by hand and apply with a horse hair brush. Of course, I’d pluck the horse hairs individually, thus taking months to fabricate said paint brush.

Then I’d pin it.

I’d pin the shit right out of it.

And so it was that I needed to step away from my laptop. I forced myself to click that little x in the upper right-hand corner and bid Pinterest a fond farewell.

Then I remembered there was that cute little girl’s room that inspired me to make some changes to the bedroom of my own cute little girls.

 

It’s true.

And in the height of my Pinterest-induced frenzy, I couldn’t locate the exact wallpaper I wanted Stateside, so I ordered it from Great Britain. That’s right. I am the idiot who ordered British wallpaper for my daughters’ bedroom because, evidently in the midst of my psychotic state, Great Britain was the only country that had the exact pattern I required. (Is it necessary to point out that I’m being sarcastic and basically calling myself a complete moron?)

Anyway, I found the paper and it was super-expensive so I hit eBay and I found it for $11.00 a roll. Plus $20 shipping via Royal Airmail. (Say it with me… Moron!)

So while we waited for the royal paper to arrive, I began pulling the room together…

First, I came up with the palette. Thankfully, I already had a lot of items in these colors lurking around the house in storage bins or linen closets, so I basically just went shopping in the attic.

Then one day I showed Dave a picture I’d pinned. The one that inspired my grand idea. This one, to be exact:

There happens to be a huge beam running across the ceiling in Gwen and Kate’s room which, in my humble opinion, screams for a swing. However, Dave thought that was a horrible idea. He started yammering on about broken bones and windows and head injuries and I had to nix the swing.

Despite refusing to install a swing, he did agree to rip up the carpet so we could get a look at the floor underneath. The prior owners told us it was wood and we knew it was painted, but we hardly expected this:

So we sanded and vacuumed and painted three coats of floor paint over the orange and flourescent green mess. It took three days.

 

Kate was not at all pleased about this. Until she found out that she’d be bunking with Mommy and Daddy while the paint dried. Then she was thrilled and we, well…we weren’t. They don’t mention those kind of details on Pinterest, do they? The late night kicks in the gut and tiny elbows poking into your temples. No, Pinterest does not say a damn thing about that.

Then one day Queen’s footmen delivered the wallpaper…Okay, not really. It was just waiting in the mailbox one afternoon.

We began wallpapering last weekend.

Dave is the best paper hanger in the house. I can’t take any credit for this at all… You know, other than buying such gorgeous paper all the way from England. Those Brits sure know how to make wallpaper!

And today we found this cute little wagon ($2.99) at our local Goodwill. The dresser that the wagon is sitting on was once picked up off the curb in Boston on garbage day. Yes, I said garbage day. I made my mother pick it up that so the neighbors wouldn’t see me do it. After she came back around the block with someone else’s garbage dresser, I painted it, distressed it and added those cute little bunnies and some glass knobs.

Sadly, I think Gwennie is getting to big for this little chest of drawers now so I’m on the hunt for a bigger piece to put between the two beds. Thus my never-ending Goodwill visits.

And there you have it. Proof that Pinterest continues to suck my time even when I’m not on the computer. I should be writing, but instead I’m decorating, Goodwilling and painting floors.

As soon as we’re done I’ll post more pictures but I have to tell you, it KILLS me to say that. It sounds so Mommy Blog-ish.

Maybe…

I’ve never been very good at female friendships. Never. I say what’s on my mind. My humor is twisted and sarcastic. Sometimes I just don’t get other women. As far at female relationships go, I’m pretty bad at being a girl.

I don’t typically like to ask for favors like, “Hey, So and So, can you give my kid a ride to school today because my other kid’s leg is hanging off and I need to get in an ambulance now.” No, I’m more likely to call the school and tell them the non-maimed child won’t be making it to class today. It’s much easier than running the risk of putting someone out to ask for help.

I am aloof. I am aloof because I spent my formative years living on a 200-acre farm with no neighborhood children to play with. I am aloof because I was born this way. I was born with a tumor on my eye and looked pretty weird as a little kid. I was a target for questions, stares and nasty little girls. As an adult, a simple eye-roll, dismissive gesture or turned back brings those little girls right back into play.

I’m kind of a loner. I don’t like talking on the phone. I rarely think about texting other people. I don’t like to gossip and I’m pretty bad at small talk. I tend to seek friendships that are real, deep and lasting. People who don’t mind if I forget to call or text.

These traits don’t mean I’m unfriendly or bitchy or that I don’t like you. I don’t decline invitations because I want to. It’s because I have three children and, sometimes I can’t be in three places at once.

Sometimes I write on a stupid blog. Mostly, I write what I hope will be a not-so-stupid book. A book about a little girl and a ghost and some sad memories of bitchy little girls and a whole lot of loneliness.

Not one of the qualities I’ve mentioned is conducive to building new friendships or getting invited to join the PTO.

At my last residency, I was slightly shocked and surprised when another woman asked me to come help her pick an outfit out for her reading. Shocked and surprised that another woman thought I was “normal” enough to do such a thing! On some level, I know how dudes must feel when wives and girlfriends start grilling them for opinions. I was honored but found myself waiting for her to realize that she’d asked for help from a woman who’s really bad at being a woman.

Here, in my every day life, I’m sure there are mommies who think I’m snobby. That I’m brushing them off. They might believe that I actually enjoy saying, “Sorry, but I can’t make it,” and that I never feel guilty about it. And that’s my problem I guess, because I’m the one who chose to follow a dream. Maybe, on some level I am a failure as a mother and as a woman. One who has chosen to pursue a master’s degree while her children need her to do things like bake cookies and plan birthday parties and playdates and sell wrapping paper. Maybe some of those women are right and I should have waited to get my degree.

Maybe. But I don’t think so. Maybe I’m just bad at being a girl.

 

 

 

 

On Guilt and Whining

I feel much better today. When I pressed the publish button on “Sometimes,” I was clearly feeling sorry for Joe…and myself.

I felt both guilty and stupid for having shared my moment of weakness with the world. I felt silly because I know there are people out there helping their children through issues far greater than what we’re dealing with.

But there’s guilt about the other side of our story. The one where sometimes I wish I had a little boy who ran head long into a rough and tumble game of football. One who wanted to join in on a game of baseball or run with the pack of children chasing a soccer ball. Those wishes make me feel awful.

Or I wish that when we did have a friend over – usually the brother of one of Gwen’s friends –  I didn’t feel the need to explain Joe’s ADHD/social anxiety or maybe Asperger’s Syndrome or maybe just social anxiety or maybe all three. I wish I didn’t have to spend an hour trying to facilitate interaction while trying not to hover. But I have to because Joe feels safer if he escapes into a video game rather than play with another child. It takes him a while to warm up. It takes him an hour to make eye contact and sometimes, consistent eye-contact doesn’t happen at all.

These are aren’t exactly social behaviors that other seven-year-olds understand. They certainly don’t feel comfortable hanging out with the kid who seems to ignore them.

I get anxious. I get sad and I feel guilty for feeling frustrated. I feel awful for wishing for something different. I beat myself about it because I love my son and I see that confident, happy side. The one that does make eye contact and who is developing a razor-sharp wit and sarcasm. He goes to Jukado and after school kid’s clubs and he’s now part of a social skills group at school courtesy of an IEP.

I get tired of explaining that I can’t hang out at one of Gwen’s many weekend preschool engagements because sometimes these group things get overwhelming for Joe. Sometimes I just can’t stomach the idea of 2 hours trying to help Joe socialize, listen, make eye contact and respond to people while I also deal with his little sisters. I don’t want to deal with the quizzical glances of other parents wondering if he’s a brat or if there’s something wrong. The parents that attempt to reprimand him for not sitting still or not looking them in the eyes (yes, people do that.) I get tired of feeling like I’m probably viewed as the anti-social bitchy mom because I stay home with Joe while Dave brings the girls out to parties and carnivals.

Yes, sometimes I avoid birthday parties and let Dave go. Mostly because I just can’t go through the pain of watching Joe choose to play by himself. Thankfully, there have been a few birthday invites this year, thanks to Gwen’s friends.

I get angry. I force my fingers to dial the telephone numbers of his classmates and face the possibility of more rejection. Because at this point, it hurts us both.

I want to scream at the school counselor who suggests that Joe likes to play by himself because, “that’s just who he’s going to be.”

And then, on the day I was feeling so sorry for us that I published a sad blog post, my beautiful boy came home wearing a smile. I heard his little feet running through the house while he searched for me, bursting with smiles and happy news. He played kickball at recess. He was invited to play with two classmates and his smile spoke volumes. His entire spirit seemed lighter. Happy.

All in all, it’s been a good week. Thanks for letting me vent and for sending such kind words of encouragement, advice and support.

No. 7

Sometimes

Sometimes I don’t feel like being funny.

Mostly, when I’ve been robbed of my humor over the past two years it’s because I’m thinking about my son. I’m thinking about his experiences at school – the difficulties he’s had as we try to figure out how to help him through a maze of possible issues.

ADHD, Asperberger’s, ADHD of the Inattentive Type, low self-esteem, anxiety…all of these?

Personally, I don’t care what it is. I just want him to be happy. I want to help him.

I want him to walk into a room full of children and feel like he belongs. I want him to know that he is liked. I want him to have a friend.

It’s tough when we’ve made it to March and he hasn’t had a single invitation to a birthday party this year. He hasn’t been invited to any play dates and our playdate invitations have gone largely ignored.

How do you explain to your son that the other kids do like him when this is happening? How do you explain to your son that sometimes, the other parents are too busy to call back?

I watched him at school last week, standing in front of me with some children from his class. We were sharing stories about the dogs in our neighborhoods and when Joe began to speak, anxiety caused him to stammer. He began to take too long with his story and he rewound when the others began to interrupt. One little girl rolled her eyes and walked away. That’s what seven-year-olds do. They don’t know any better. Their level of patience and empathy is still developing, but Joe sees it and it hurts.

I hurt.

We’ve been going to weekly therapy appointments. Last week he broke down and told the therapist that none of the other kids like him. He told the therapist that he doesn’t have any friends. He got up from the floor where he was coloring and curled against my side on the couch. He turned to me with a look of desperation on his face as the tears began to flow, his eyes pleading, wondering why we were making him talk about this painful subject.

Later, I cried in the car while he happily chatted about Legos and spelling words.

This morning I left some messages, inviting children over for playdates after school. I really hope that this time, someone’s mom calls me back.

Dear Pinterest,

Dear Pinterest,

I hereby write to inform you that you are full of shit.

That’s right. I said you are full of shit.

You suck people in with your pretty pictures. The alleged proof that somewhere in the world, there is a woman who has a perfect kitchen/home office/garden and a professional photographer on hand…I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this tirade.

In the late hours of the evening, when my family slumbers around me, I lay awake with my iPad, unable to log off because I might find just one more photograph of perfection. One that will change my world. I might stumble upon something like a photograph of a baby carrot perfectly carved into a minute totem pole, surrounded by tiny trees fashioned from organic broccoli and standing in fluffy piles mashed potatoes meant to resemble snow! Whew…deep breath.

In my state of exhaustion, you will lead me to believe that if I can carve tiny baby carrot totems, my children will be happier. That I will become a better mother and my artistic carrot carving abilities will be world-renowned.

Then I pass out with my face plastered against the iPad’s screen and dream of my shortcomings and failures as a woman.

Well, as I wiped drool off my iPad’s screen the other morning, I started thinking. I can’t help but notice the Pinterest-wide obsession with mud rooms. You know, coat racks, hooks, nooks, cubbies and shelves. Boot trays and tile. To-do lists and messages of love written on chalkboard walls to families so utterly loved that their mother has provided them with a perfectly organized room. One designed to deal with mud, but which according to  thousands of pinned photographs, never get muddy.

Also, at our house, the chalkboard wall tends to hold messages of power in the form of potty words. So, if you’re okay with your guests reading something like, “Mom is a big poo poo head” immediately upon entry into your home, paint away. Chalk it up, baby. Nothing relaxes a guest and makes them feel more at home than proof that their hostess is a big shithead.

courtesy of Pinterest

Please refer to Exhibit 1 (above.) Does anyone actually live at this house? Where’s all the crap?

Don’t be fooled. Those baskets will be filled with petrified grilled cheese sandwich crusts and unidentifiable masses of glue and glitter soaked in apple juice in no time at all. And that gorgeous hardwood floor? I’d like to see what it looks like right now. Right this minute. Because I’m willing to slap down a sizeable bet that they are neither shiny or clean. I’m thinking there might even be a pile of shoes spilling out of those pristine white cubbies.

courtesy of Pinterest

Exhibit 2. Oh… would you look at the lovely doors in that mudroom? I can only imagine the multitude of sins that women believe will be kept hidden behind them. The mess concealed. The crap kept secret. No one will ever know that a bunch of filthy little animals live in your house! Visitors will naturally assume that you are the worlds the most perfect housekeeper!

SIGH

Well, ladies. I am about to offer up a foul-tasting dose of reality. I am here to tell you that you shouldn’t believe the hype. Don’t let Pinterest fool you into believing that a perfectly designed mud room will solve all your problems. Don’t you think for even a second that your children (or husband) will gladly fling those cubby doors open to  hang up a coat. And those individual shoe drawers? Forget about it. The only person putting away muddy boots and soggy sneakers away will be you.  That’s right, sister. YOU.

Here is the ugly truth behind what actually goes on in a well-designed mudroom.

And here’s what it looks like when guests are coming over and I want to fake them out and make them think I am the world’s greatest housekeeper with a fantastic mud room.

 

My pictures are terrible, I know. I recently fired my professional photographer. My pictures were taken with an Android phone in a moment of motherly frustration for use in my crusade to reveal the truth behind motherhood. You see, I’d just re-entered the house after a rare hour of child-free time. I was relaxed and happy until I opened the door and promptly fell over the pile of boots and outerwear sitting beneath the wall of cabinets and shoe drawers. Yes, that is exactly one cabinet and one shoe drawer for each member of the family. Wouldn’t it be nice if each person actually used them?

Here’s how I deal the mess. I shut the door and walk away. Somehow, I highly doubt my grainy mudroom photos will be added to Pinterest.

Just walk away

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creative Outlets: How I Try Not To Lose My Mind

During my last MFA residency, a wise group of women authors/faculty members led a presentation about creativity. In other words, what writers do when we aren’t painting portraits with our words. Come to find out, writers are also talented graphic designers, knitters, artists, musicians, photographers and interior designers. Yeah, yeah, I know there are other creative pursuits, but these are the ones that hit home for me. The ones that spoke to me. Those creative outlets that faculty members discussed as fuel for writing and those fulfilling pursuits that we escape to when our word well has temporarily dried up.

February brought draught-like conditions to Narragansett No. 7 and to those more serious writing projects I’m currently working on. The ones I am attending graduate school to perfect…under the tutelage of those aforementioned authors/faculty members.

In the midst of last month’s barfing, coughing, cleaning, nurturing, crying, sleeping and mental breakdowns, I began questioning my choice to attend graduate school. I did that thing that so many writers do and I decided that I am most certainly not a writer.

For the 1,457,962nd time, I came to the conclusion that everyone else at Stonecoast is a serious writer and I’m just there by some fluke. Some day, those smart faculty members and writers diligently pursuing their MFAs are going to find out and they’ll all laugh at me. They’ll point and they’ll laugh and then they’ll all tell me to leave after dumping a secretly stashed bucket of pig’s blood on my head at the next Stonecoast prom. (You have to be a Stephen King fan to appreciate that list bit.)

See how whacked out I became last month? I’m the first to admit that I do this every so often and I’m finding out that many writers go through similar patterns of self-doubt.

So I went with it. I decided to let my word well fill up again and I read a few of the books assigned to me for this semester. Mostly, I just tried to forget about the pressure of the writing part. I realized that I must have faith in my ability and the learning process and that the words always find their way back to brain. (At least, this is what I repeated to myself over and over again.)

Aside from reading, I nested.

1. I ordered chickens. 8 chickens to be exact. They will arrive during the second week of April. Prepare yourself for the insanity.

Not my Domoniques - photo courtesy Wikipedia

2. Two nights a week for two weeks, I made dinner for my family plus two others. Remember when I shared that post about my friend Jess? She’s home and recovering from surgery but we’re all trying to help out in any way we can. I also cooked dinners for the family of a little boy named Finn who went to Gwen’s preschool last year. Finn is being treated for brain cancer and I hope to post more about him in the next few weeks as they are at the point where fundraising has become needed. And prayers. Don’t forget the prayers.

Jessica and her beautiful family

3. In the name of St. Valentine, I made cake pops and Oreo cookie pops and blew the insides out of eggs  and cut heart-shaped pieces of watermelon. And I did this while I should have been writing.

4. I entertained a cursing fairy to the point of exhaustion. She slumbered in a beanbag on the kitchen floor. Presumably having dragged it there to escape her mother’s manic creative pursuits and ADHD-riddled thought patterns. Note to self: adults with short attention spans confuse the shit out of children. Please don’t forget the ADHD medication.

Swearing fairies require naps up to the age of 4

5.  I became addicted to Pinterest whilst nursing my children into the wee hours during the now infamous Barf Fest of 2012.

6.  I was overcome with the need to make some changes around the house that we just moved into and which I just made changes to last year. But that’s me. I like to make things pretty. In fact, I struggled between returning to grad school for that MFA or pursuing a degree in Interior Design. Somehow the thought of bitchy women being bitchy about something I designed didn’t appeal to me, so I opted for the MFA.

Anyway…Pinterest sparked that creative side of me that dives headfirst into design projects and I spend my writing dry spell on little projects like this: 

Joe's dresser, newly painted and with knotted rope handles. I'll post more on this later!

 And this…

 
The Valentine’s Day eggs that I blew out, painted and then proceeded to shove tiny messages of love inside off. Damn you, crafty Pinterest people. Damn.You. Life was much easier back when I just went to the store and grabbed a couple of Hallmark cards and some chocolate.
 
And this…

The girl's bedroom - undergoing some changes

 
Gwen and I went to My Sister’s Garage in Windam, Maine and she fell in love with a vintage children’s room they had so perfectly arranged. For those of you not in the area, My Sister’ Garage is a local antique/vintage shop that gives new life to furniture and collectibles and I just love to go there. They will be at Brimfield in May if you want to check them out. They also have a website with just a sample of some wares. Pop over and take look. Gwen loves My Sister’s Garage much that she cried last week when I said we wouldn’t have time go. I think I have pickin’ partner in Gwen because she has inspired a new vintage bedroom for herself and Kate. I’ll post more about this later in the week.

photo courtesy My Sister's Garage

So there you have it. This is what I was doing during the month of February when Narragansett No. 7 sat collecting dust and the only thing I was writing were status updates. Sometimes, you just need to take a little vacation from what you love. And that’s okay.

Good Day, Sunshine

My eyes fluttered open at the sounds of someone in my bed. Someone moving, flopping around and pulling at the covers, then settling and quietly sucking on the two middle fingers of her right hand.

“Good morning, Katie Bird,” I mumbled.

“Wook, Mom,” she said, throwing back the duvet, “I got my wiener out.”

“That’s not a wiener, Kate. Boys have wieners…”

“It not a jay-jay. I tell you, I got a wiener, Mom!” She yelled, and with that declaration, she backed that thing up and nearly parked it on my face.

“See? I tell you! Dis a butt crack,” she instructed, using her index finger to illustrate her point, “And dis a wiener. Silly,” she said, gazing at me through her legs. Even in her upside down position, I could tell from her furrowed brows that she was shocked at my level of ignorance.

I recoiled and attempted to recall the date of Kate’s last bath. It was on Monday.

“You need a bath, Kate. Your wiener stinks.”

“Step off. STEP.OFF!” she hollered. “I want you to *weave now.”

“This is my bed.”

“I wanna watch *Clipbird,” she said.

I sighed, threw back the duvet and rolled out of bed because sometimes it is, in fact, much easier to leave than it is to hang around and wage battle with Kate. As I walked toward the bathroom, she hurled one last insult at me. Evidently the worst, most threatening thing a pre-preschooler can come up with.

“I gonna poop on your bed. I a doggie you know.”

Motherhood is so glamorous.

*leave
*Clifford

Chalkboard Declarations

First, let me begin by saying that I believe in self-expression via writing. Words are the most effective means of communicating how we feel, right? It’s kind of a no-brainer that I, of all people, would encourage my children to write.

So with that in mind, I painted an entire wall in Joe’s room with chalkboard paint.

It’s been fun to find their silly little drawings. Joe’s nearly perfect attempts to recreate Chomp from Super Mario World. Gwen’s weird-looking princess people with something resembling an antenna springing forth from their heads. A series of wobbly lines drawn by Kate and placed directly over the artwork of her siblings thus eliciting screams of protest and angry pleas for me to make her stop.

Sometimes Gwen is permitted to sleep on the top bunk in Joe’s room. These are the nights when her heart swells with joy and she beams with giddy delight at his invitation for a sleepover. We know that giggles and fake farts sounds are part of the deal. Dave and I accept that we’ll be required to stand at the bottom of the stairs and issue several warnings to settle down. Of course we know this, but boy, do those two children share a special bond. We love to see them loving each other.

So last week, during one of their sleepovers, Dave and I let them giggle and make fart sounds for a bit too long. Mostly because the giggles had turned to uncontrollable belly laughs. The deep and uncontrollable kind that can be so rare for Joe as he struggles with ADHD and anxiety and emotions. He’s a serious guy. So when he laughs so hard that he’s gasping for air, we let him and we share a glance and a chuckle before finally issuing the “that’s enough now” statement.

To tell you the truth, I didn’t give those belly laughs much thought the next morning. They had become a warm memory, filed away for use at some future date when I attempt to recall what Joe and Gwen sounded like at ages 7 and 5. When I need to pull that memory out because I’m pining for these days. The very days we are experiencing right now. The ones that parents of grown children tell me I will miss. I believe them. I do. But when you’re in the thick of it, it is hard to embrace that sentiment. Despite the wistful expression that washes over the face of a stranger when they see me herding my noisy flock through the grocery store, the look that comes right before they say, “I remember those days.” They say things like this as they stare at my children, not really seeing them at all, but traveling back in time to spend just a moment with their little ones courtesy of a warm memory filed away long ago.

When a complete stranger remarks that they miss their little ones, I pause. I do. I pause because I know I’ll feel the same way one day. Mostly because my naughty little brood makes me laugh. Despite their decidedly fresh behavior and inappropriate language, I will miss them terribly when they become pimply and gangly-limbed humans.

However, I will not miss finding the messages of self-expression that make it abundantly clear what those sibling slumber party belly laughs were all about.

 
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More February Madness and Some Photographic Evidence

Despite the Great Plague of 2012 aka Hell Month, I decided to attack potty training with a vengeance. Maybe it was extreme fatigue after a week-long battle with barf…

Whatever it was that led to my visions of potty training grandeur, it was wrong. Just. So. Wrong.

In the end, on one of the rare days in February that didn’t include stomach bile, I decided that I was done with diapers. You heard me, I was finito. Caput. No mas diapers.

I remember it well. It was Friday. The Friday following a pukey all-nighter. (And sadly, not the kind of pukey all-nighters I enjoyed in my early twenties.)  No, this was viral and the only booze involved were those fancy cocktails I was perusing on Pinterest while my children hurled beside me in the dark hours of night.

I started that Friday by waging battle with my eyelids. I nearly resorted to prying them open and, because of my extreme fatigue, I decided that everyone was staying home. School was not an option. Mostly because I don’t believe in sharing germs (too late) and also because I was riding a roller coaster of fear. One moment I was joyous that I had seemingly escaped the bug and the next I was poised to sprint toward a bathroom. The slightest gurgle in my gastrointestinal region filled me with dread and threw me into a  certifiably neurotic cycle of waiting. Waiting for the puke to come. Obsessing over gas bubbles and appropriate levels of saliva production.

After approximately six hours of stopping in my tracks to declare, “Oh, this is it. I’m going to throw up,” Dave began calling me Fred Sanford, clutching at his heart and saying, “This is the big one!” (Yes, I just dated my husband with a reference to Sanford and Son. He’s so damn old, y’all.)

Since I had nothing much to do but for 27 loads of smelly laundry, it occurred to me that it was the perfect day to break Kate’s will. Yes, the Friday following a mass vomiting was suddenly the most opportune time to fight the good fight. I was certain I’d conquer her inconvenient and disgusting choice of poo receptacle.

Perhaps the hallucinations from extreme fatigue placed these grandiose plans at my feet. I didn’t care. I went with it. I embraced my sleepless state and rode the wave toward visions of a diaper-free household.

I made her take her diaper off, kindly ridiculing her about nearly being three. Then I gently taunted her with declarations that all the other girls are doing it. I issued horrifying warnings about preschool being unattainable for pants poopers. Finally, I reminded her that poo-poo beans are positively scrumptious and, with that thought planted in her head, Kate dropped trou.

Unfortunately, she wasn’t totally on board with the plan. Not at all. She was pissed off and put out that I’d dare to suggest such a foul thing as defecating in a potty. So much so, that she stripped naked in protest and proceeded to made herself look as pitiful as possible.

So I couldn’t resist taking a series of photos. You know, for future ammunition because it has become quite clear to David and I that our years with Kate are not going to be easy ones. As a result, I shall endeavor to accumulate an arsenal of mortifying photographs and videotapes to be used at a future date. But only if completely necessary. Say, for that weird boyfriend we’re going to hate but that Kate dates simply to piss us off. I’ll show him the horrors of toddler Kate and hopefully scare him off.

However, since my blog stats indicate that preverts abound, I will not post any full-frontals of my baby girl on the can. (Take that creepy people who arrive at No. 7 with searches like “mom wiped my bum.”)

For the record, Kate did not poop in the potty and late Friday evening, my cocky proclamations of health were squelched by my gurgling gastrointestinal tract.

 

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The Great Plague of February 2012

This post was written several weeks ago in the midst of  the month from Hell. I will now refer to February 2012 as the Lost Month. The month of the plague…and laundry…and no writing. Not at all. It was written in haste and forgotten. This should explain my lengthy absence from No. 7.

Sad, sick baby...

By 11:00 a.m. last Sunday, Dave and I were equally annoyed with Kate. To the point where I actually said, “No, seriously. If that kid doesn’t stop whining in the next five minutes I am going to run from this house screaming and never come back. Fucking NEVER.”

We were hiding in the pantry, quietly performing one of our “What I wish I could say to Kate/Joe/Gwen” sessions. As in, Dave and I hunkering into the dark recesses of a tiny room and saying things like, “”Why don’t you quit  being such a douchebag, Kate and say that in English.” Clearly we would never dream of saying horrible things like this directly to our children. But in those tense moments – say, hour number seven of incessant whining – we have found this to be an effective method of blowing off steam. We say horrible, awful things to our children then snort and giggle at the mere thought. This is not the type of relaxation method one finds in crunchy new age parenting books but it works for us. Our whispered tirades make us feel good. (Forward all hate mail to narragansettno7 at yahoo dot com then move on to a blog that gives tutorials about kitty shaped tuna sandwiches.)

Well, Kate threw up precisely five minutes after I declared that I was going high-tail it out the front door and run down the road like my hair was on fire.

And yes, I immediately felt like the world’s most horrible mother.

I heard the unmistakable sound of gurgled heaving and spun around to determine the source.

The sounds were emanating from Kate’s tiny body, parked high up on one of the stools at the kitchen island. She’d been noshing on hommus and baby carrots.

After the second it took to locate the source of pre-vomit gagging noises, Dave and I lunged across the room and looked down upon Kate with a mixture of horror and parental concern. I wanted to pick her up and hold her but simultaneously felt a wave of disgust for what was about to happen. A quick glance at Dave’s face told me I wasn’t alone. The grimace he was wearing made his feelings completely obvious. A strange mixture of oh, my poor little girl…oh, God this is going to be so nasty. He stooped and cupped his hand under her chin just as the carrots and hommus reappeared. With Jedi-like precision, he caught and held onto the contents of Kate’s stomach.

Again, I just stood by like a useless lump and watched in horror. Of course, at times I interjected with what I imagined were motherly sounding sentiments. “Oh, you poor little baby,” and “Jesus, how the hell does a kid that size have so much in her stomach?!”

I’m a good mother. Right?

Dave took the other two kids off to a birthday party and I stayed home with my little puking princess. We cuddled together on a bed swathed in giant beach towels and watched Calliou. I hugged her and tried to ignore the pungent odor wafting from her hair. She sucked her fingers and barfed for a few hours before falling asleep.

Before we knew it, Tuesday came. And so did Dave’s bout with the bug.

Then along came Wednesday and in the last minutes of the day – the very seconds before the midnight hour – Gwen came in and stood at my beside complaining that her tummy hurt. As she made this declaration and her lip quivered, the purple colored fruit roll-up she snacked on after dinner introduced itself to my bed. With a change of the sheets, clothes and the procurement of the barf bucket (master bath garbage can) Gwen spent the next four hours barfing while I held her hair.

To keep myself awake, I spent hours on Pinterest. While Gwen puked I pinned recipe upon recipe and got hungrier and hungrier.

And now I know. I know there’s something wrong with me.

I have a strong stomach. Back in my law firm days, I was privy to some highly gory photographs courtesy of personal injury cases and medical malpractice claims. I was the person who was able to look through and document a set of photos while launching into a chicken sandwich. When the others whined about nausea after viewing  appendages that had been launched through a wood chipper, I was able to nosh on a slice of New York’s best pizza pie.

So, it was nearing 4:00 a.m., Gwen was reduced to dry heaves and I was drooling over someone’s recently pinned buffalo chicken pasta when I heard Joe’s feet hit the floor. I could tell he was running and then I heard the unmistakable sounds of…well…you know.

Since I was already wide awake and Gwen was winding down, I calmly walked downstairs to fetch another barf bowl then lined Joe’s bed with a beach towel and turned  his area rug back. I climbed in beside him and I was thankful that we bought the bunk bed will a full-sized mattress on bottom. I rubbed his back when needed and continued on my quest for comfort food via iPad and Pinterest.

I was resigned to the fact that I’d be the next person to fall. I’d been breathing the fumes for hours. I’d washed my hands 9,000 times but really, who was I kidding?

Well, it’s 5:51 p.m. on Friday and I have not yet succumbed. In fact, last night I was so famished that I made myself a giant salad and a grilled cheese sandwich with cheddar, tomato and bacon and ate it while my husband looked on in disgust.